As we start this festive season, it is a great idea to remind ourselves about potential holiday hazards for our pets. Every time your normal household routine is disturbed, opportunities for injury or illness can arise. Even straying too far from your pet’s normal diet can cause problems. Holiday “complications” that we commonly deal with here at VMC range from the mild to the severe. Unusual food items can simply cause some vomiting, diarrhea and tummy upset. Unfortunately, they can also cause much more serious problems.
Dietary Indiscretion (aka “Garbage Gut”): A very common reason for a trip to the VMC’s emergency room unfolds innocently in a busy holiday household. The meal is over and everyone is too full to pay attention to where the leftover food is in relation to your pets. Your pets have been waiting literally all day for such an opportunity, and are busily helping themselves to the overstuffed trash container and/or the leftovers on the counter. While dogs are usually the main offenders in cases of “garbage gut,” cats are not immune! Within a few hours some combination of vomiting and diarrhea requires a trip to the emergency room.
Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis is a swelling or inflammation of the pancreas. Severity can range from mild to life threatening. Pancreatitis is typically caused when our pets eat foods that are much higher in fat than their bodies are used to (think brisket and latkes). If your pet accidentally gets into scraps (or if another family member sneaks them some!), watch for vomiting, diarrhea, signs of abdominal pain (your pet may appear “hunched up” if pain is severe enough), loss of appetite, weakness, or collapse. If you notice any of these signs, bring your pet to your family veterinarian or the VMC as soon as possible. If pancreatitis is left untreated, it can lead to severe liver and kidney damage and can potentially be fatal.
Chocolate: Wrapped chocolate gelt is doubly dangerous for our pets. The gold foil wrapping can cause digestive upset and obstruction, and the chocolate is toxic to our pets even in small amounts. Store well out of their reach and keep an eye out for dropped wrappers or candy.
Onions: Onions have the potential to destroy red blood cells in both cats and dogs, leading to anemia. Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate, which causes a condition called hemolytic anemia. Symptoms can take up to two to four days to appear and can include respiratory distress, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. Small amounts of onions can cause problems, so use caution when storing, serving, and disposing of these foods. Another reason our pets should avoid latkes!
Raw dough: Making challah or sufganiyot? Raw dough can expand in a pet’s stomach and require emergency surgery. Make sure that rising dough is well out of reach.
Any food fried in oil: Hot oil and pets don’t mix. We’ve treated the effects of hot oil spilled on pets as well as pets who have eaten too many fatty treats. Both scenarios are best avoided.
Dreidels: Small dreidels lying around may be swallowed, particularly if there is a young dog in the house. This creates a choking risk as well as the risk of digestive system obstruction.
Menorah: Candles and pets are always a dangerous combination. Cats can jump up around the menorah and dogs can knock down burning candles. Don’t leave the menorah candles burning unattended unless pets are blocked from that area.
Gifts: Many pets are naturally curious, particularly young pets, and they explore the world with their mouths. Any unusual objects lying around have the potential to be chewed and swallowed. Exchanging gifts often generates lots of unusual objects (wrapping, ribbons, packaging, batteries, etc.) that can create choking hazards and other potential dangers.
Prevention! Take some simple steps during this festive time so that you can relax and enjoy!
As always, be prepared – know where your closest emergency veterinary facility is located, just in case your pet needs care! Visit www.vmccny.com for directions and more information about our facility.
Above all, enjoy your family, your pets, and your holiday season!
We had so much fun on Sunday at the Canine Carnival! We helped dozens of doggies cool off in our doggy pool and with some tasty (to dogs!) sno-cones. We heard lots of dogs were adopted thanks to the record-breaking crowd.
Thank you to everyone who came out.
Check out the photos from the event on our Facebook page
And don’t forget to LIKE us while you’re there!
Smiles and sno-cones aside, we did have to put on our Emergency hats for some not-so-fun business: the business of helping our pets feel better. We were lucky to have some of our best emergency folks right there to help a couple dogs who had a hard time with the heat. They knew just what to do!
We hope you’re all feeling better!
3nd Annual Canine Carnival
New location, Live concert, Red Cross Blood Drive and more…
Canine Carnival 2012 is on the way with even more animals and fun things to do including a live concert. The date is Saturday August 4th 10am to 4pm at a new location, Longbranch Park in Liverpool.
Admission is FREE. It will be held rain or shine. We encourage everyone to bring your pets.
Last years Canine Carnival event was another incredible success with more than 50 vendors and animal rescues represented, food, music, 6000 people attending and best of all, more than 100 dogs finding good homes. Our new location features much greater parking capacity with many additional vendors and rescues being represented.
Along with the live concert at 2pm, other new features this year include a Red Cross Blood Drive on site, dog washing & grooming, a Kids Play area and Sports Zone featuring local sports teams. Horse carriage rides around the park will be available. Spay & Neuter Syracuse (SANS) will offer micro- chipping for your pet. Veterinary Medical Center of CNY will have an emergency triage center on site for your pets.
Proceeds from the Canine Carnival go to the Priscilla Mahar Animal Welfare Foundation who has donated nearly $30,000 to animal welfares and rescues in central NY.
VMCCNY is proud to sponsor this event and look forward to seeing you there!
“Thank you all for taking such wonderful care of our “little guy” Bently over the past few days while he got back on his feet again! Your knowledge, kindness and compassionate nature helped to make our medical emergency much easier to bear. We truly appreciate all that you did to help Bently enjoy the rest of his summer!”